The Importance of Hobbies to Creativity

When I think about my own creative roots I seem to be brought back to hobbies I have done throughout my life.  As a small child I loved to draw like most kids a little older and I was enthralled by Lego® blocks.  I worked alongside my Dad building all sorts of things and did crafts and ceramics with my Mom.  I have at times tried quilting, sewing, and painting.  My husband says I’m a genius when it comes to jury-rigging, given a few minutes to find some common household items and I can fix an amazing amount of stuff.  I got the tinker gene from both of my depression era parents.

It seems I have always had a desire to create.  In fact it was through the materials I created for organizations like PTA and Girl Scouts that I was offered a job to create educational materials for teachers and schools.   So I started wondering are hobbies the gateway to creativity.  A 2008 journal article in Psychology Today believes it is.   Right behind finding time for imaginary play comes find a hobby (Root-Berstein).  Hobbies let us indulge in what psychologists refer to as the “little-c”.  The “little-c” creativity is present in all of us, it is what helps us to think of solutions to problems and deal with change.  Through the working at a hobby, a person is practicing being creative.  A hobby allows the hobbiest to face problems, find unique solutions and stretch the limits of their imagination beyond what exists.  Whether it is putting together patterns to form a quilt or working out a complicated pattern to build a playhouse, working at a hobby forces your mind to reach beyond what it already knows.   Hobbies also let us tap into our passions an important piece of creativity.  Hobbies can also lead to some practical outcomes.

Take for example the small business Ramshackle Wonders. This business, found on ETSY, was born from the creative collaboration of friends with a common interest Medieval and Renaissance inspired items and a desire to craft their own.   These individuals, each with a passion for a different medium, began creating items mostly for themselves and friends.  Through their sharing and encouragement from those around them, they formed Ramshackle Wonders. The endeavor allows them to further share their creative vision and even make a little money to continue the creative cycle.   They ask for and take suggestions and ideas for new items as well as custom work.   A great example of working the creative process and I think it is wondrous indeed.

So the question is, do only creative people seek out hobbies or can seeking out a hobby inspire anyone to be creative?


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